So the whirlwind of interviews continues in order to promote Symfunny on June 4th at the RAH. Tonight James will be talking about the concert on BBC Radio 5 live with Stephen Nolan. More »
I haven’t blogged for a while but we have had a lot happening in our lives, as always. James has been diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease. Obviously this has been pretty devastating news for a guy with a young family. But, James has decided to try to do something positive with this news which is why we have announced in the press today that we are going to hold Symfunny, an evening of music and laughter at the Royal Albert Hall on June 4th in association with Parkinson’s UK. We have asked lots of friends and colleagues we have worked with and met over the years to join us for the night. The response has been truly overwhelming. We already have Alfie Boe, Rebecca Ferguson, Armstrong and Miller, Julian Lloyd Webber, Jason Manford, a full Symphony Orchestra, members of the Brighton Festival Chorus and the London Symphony Chorus on the bill.
It is going to be a fantastic night of entertainment so please book a ticket, support us and help raise awareness and money for Parkinson’s Disease. More »
Is it me or does the holiday period get longer each year? I’ve sent emails to people that have bounced back as they are ‘out of the office’ for nearly 3 weeks now. Personally I’d rather we adopted the Italian model and closed down the country in August when we could at least enjoy good weather. 3 weeks without working is fantastic (if you are lucky enough to get it), but to spend it cooped up inside as it is so wet seems like a waste of time off. It’s as if someone turned the world upside down, flipped it over, so we are standing on the sky which means all the oceans and seas are now pouring back down on us.
I’m delighted to be able to announce that Tony Ross (illustrator of Horrid Henry amongst other numerous books) is to illustrate live during the performance of The Great Enormo at the South Bank on February 22nd. He did a similar thing at the Proms in the summer and Michael Rosen tells me his contribution was a huge hit with everyone so we are very pleased to have him join us on the day. More »
I’m sitting at my computer at 7 in the morning having left James to get the kids ready for school. I have the great excuse that I’m about to Skype Jack Topping before he sings live on BBC breakfast. Every TV show asks for a slightly longer, shorter, faster version of a song so they can fit it into their show so Jack has to remember which version he is singing, which can be tricky at 7 in the morning in the week your album has been released when you have been galavanting around the country. Added to this the extra pressure of live telly means that I am sitting here about to Skype Jack, have a little vocal warm up with him and run through You’ll Never Walk Alone. He will be in a great mood as he loves singing this song, especially the high note at the end. More »
The Save the Children’s new Christmas TV Ad will make it’s debut with Jack Topping singing Tomorrow, tomorrow, if you see what I mean. Tomorrow, that’s Sunday, you will be able to see Jack singing Tomorrow on the Save the Children ad. It doesn’t get any less confusing the more I repeat it does it! We recorded it (the song Tomorrow) with Jack back in September so it’s been quite a wait to see it on the box but I hope people are moved enough to donate to this charity. Jack is their youngest ever Ambassador and it’s a fantastic idea to have a kids voice accompanying these moving images. More »
We were at Birmingham Symphony Hall at the end of half term for another performance of our guide to the orchestra, The Great Enormo. This time with the world famous CBSO, woohoo. What a fabulous hall they have. My daughter, who plays the part of Michael Rosen’s granddaughter was even impressed with the dressing room, she couldn’t believe there was a piano in it which I couldn’t get her off despite having to be nagged to practice at home. No dress malfunctions this time I’m glad to say but I did get locked out of the choir stalls in the rehearsal and missed my cue. I should explain I play a rogue soprano who keeps appearing in various locations and trying to sabotage the concert with some opera singing. Great fun for me whilst James and Michael do all the work. Next show is back in London at the South Bank in February. More »
These days my time is filled with record producing and composing rather than singing but occasionally I do dust off a long dress not to mention a pair of ageing and rusty, but still serviceable, vocal chords. They were put to use at Fairfield Halls last week for a Last Night of the Proms concert. For those of you who have not been to the venue before, BEWARE. Strange forces are at work. Last time I did a concert there, a good few years back, the zip on my dress went just before I went on stage and I had to ask the stage manager to help. James also had a bad experience there when he left the music for 2 of the pieces in his dressing room and had to guess how they started, how many beats in the bar there were, and guess when the pieces were about to end, lest he was left waving at a silent orchestra like a fool.
Well, last week my zip broke AGAIN. Please excuse the excessive use of capitals, but you couldn’t make it up. Luckily the conductor had asked me to bring 2 dresses, one for each half. Just before I went on stage I felt my dress go ‘loose’. It was one of those strapless evening dresses where a good tight, zipped up bodice is vital for security. Retelling the story now, I am so intensely relieved it happened before I went on stage. I was stuck with the dress on but with my entire back exposed and not able to move the zip back down again. I managed to hoick the back of the dress around so the zip was at the front, thinking that would give me better leverage to get it down. Big mistake. It still wouldn’t move but now the long hole under the broken zip was in an altogether less acceptable place. Eventually I had to rip the zip off the material with 30 seconds to shove on the second dress. More »
We are having great fun arranging some items for the Classic Brit Awards 2013 which are happening next week in the Royal Albert Hall. The God of the piano himself, also known as Lang Lang, will be playing one of our arrangements in a duet version with another artiste. We reckon we’ve put some tricky little bits and bobs for Lang Lang to get his fingers around. What am I saying? It’s all just a walk in the park for him, he will simply sightread it perfectly whatever we write. We are also putting together a special medley of Hans Zimmer’s music as he will be the recipient of the Outstanding Contribution to Music Award.
Our old friend Alfie Boe will be performing on the night and if you want to catch any of it on the telly, it’s being broadcast at 10:15pm on Sunday 6th October. Now, what to wear… More »